Road Tolls & Charges in Europe – Things You Need to Know
Whilst road tolls were originally devised to cover the cost of the road’s construction, the majority of toll contributions are now spent on making road usage more environmentally sustainable.
When travelling abroad by ferry or Eurotunnel Freight, it can be very confusing trying to navigate the many different systems that are often very unfamiliar, especially as a lot of tolls have to be paid online or at offices within towns.
Here are a few tips on how to navigate the different types of tolls across Europe.
Know your route
Different areas of Europe have an array of methods by which you have to pay for road usage. It is very difficult to organise how and what to pay unless you know which roads you are going to take, particularly when you are crossing borders.
Therefore, before you set off, have a good idea of the route that you are wishing to take - that way you can bypass any kind of unnecessary surprises.
Know your vehicle and your limits
Knowing the exact length and weight of your vehicle is necessary when preparing to pay your toll charges. A larger vehicle exceeding 3.5 tonnes is subject to a higher fee at toll stations.
Withi this in mind, it may be more feasible to swap your HGV or rigid lorry for a smaller van if possible to avoid paying for excess weight that you may not be using. Whilst the difference may only be €10 EUR each time, if you pass through ten toll booths, that very quickly racks up to some serious fees!
Acquaint yourself with the payment methods of other countries
Again, this is where it is vital that you plan your route before you set off. The main difference between the types of tolls across Europe is whether you pay manually at a toll gate or whether you pay remotely for a vignette sticker (or e-vignette).
Vignette stickers can be purchased either online or at road side service stations in central European countries.They are calculated by the amount of time spent in the country, therefore you can purchase differently vignettes based on duration. You must register your vehicle on an individual basis when purchasing a vignette as each type of vehicle carries its own charge. Failure to properly present a vignette will result in a hefty fine of around €300.
Toll charges are a measure of how far your vehicle has travelled. Therefore, it is possible to minimise the cost by pre-planning your route. Tolls are usually payable by card, cash or remote transaction.
Calculate your fees before you set off
It can be hard when trying to calculate how much you have to pay when driving in Europe. Particularly as motorways are operated by different companies with varying charges. However, there are several websites where you can calculate the costs. Take a look at tolls.eu/europe where you can both plan your route and establish what tolls/vignettes you may have to pay.